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Quotes of the day: Martin Amis

Published Sunday, August 24, 2014 @ 10:46 PM EDT
Aug 24 2014

(The Telegraph photo by Clara Molden)

Martin Louis Amis (b August 25, 1949) is an English novelist. His best-known novels are Money (1984) and London Fields (1989). He has received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his memoir Experience and has been listed for the Booker Prize twice to date (shortlisted in 1991 for Time's Arrow and longlisted in 2003 for Yellow Dog). Amis served as the Professor of Creative Writing at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester until 2011. The Times named him in 2008 as one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Being inoffensive, and being offended, are now the twin addictions of the culture.

Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun.

Closure is a greasy little word which, moreover, describes a nonexistent condition. The truth, Venus, is that nobody gets over anything.

I think it's the whole impulse to judge and censor and euphemize, that is the enemy.

In my experience of fights and fighting, it is invariably the aggressor who keeps getting everything wrong.

It now seems that pornography is the leading sex educator in the Western world.

It used to be said that by a certain age a man had the face that he deserved. Nowadays, he has the face he can afford.

Just as a Philistine does not on the whole devote his life to his art, so a misogynist does not devote his inner life to women

Laughter always forgives.

Life is chaos. It has none of the symmetries and patterning of the novel.

Money doesn’t mind if we say it’s evil, it goes from strength to strength. It’s a fiction, an addiction, and a tacit conspiracy.

On any longer view, man is only fitfully committed to the rational- to thinking, seeing, learning, knowing. Believing is what he's really proud of.

People don't change or improve much, but they do evolve. It is very slow.

Remember the axiom: the danger of terrorism lies not in what it inflicts but in what it provokes.

Style is not neutral; it gives moral directions.

Terrorism undermines morality. Then, too, it undermines reason.

The true manipulator never has a reputation for manipulating.

There are two rules of war that have not yet been invalidated by the new world order. The first rule is that the belligerent nation must be fairly sure that its actions will make things better; the second rule is that the belligerent nation must be more or less certain that its actions won't make things worse

Weapons are like money; no one knows the meaning of enough.

What is the only provocation that could bring about the use of nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. What is the priority target for nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. What is the only established defense against nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. How do we prevent the use of nuclear weapons? By threatening the use of nuclear weapons. And we can't get rid of nuclear weapons, because of nuclear weapons. The intransigence, it seems, is a function of the weapons themselves.

What we eventually run up against are the forces of humourlessness, and let me assure you that the humourless as a bunch don't just not know what's funny, they don't know what's serious. They have no common sense, either, and shouldn't be trusted with anything.

(August 25 is also the birthday of Leonard Bernstein.)

Categories: Martin Amis, Quotes of the day


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